Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thoughts from My Head

10:36pm. Need to clear them out before I go to bed.

Week 1 = 4 pounds lost! 5 days worked out! Still going strong.

I have been trying to plan for our 4 day trip to the snow next week. I have been to about 10 stores looking for snow pants and boots for the boys. Everyone is sold out - so I thought, until tonight I visited Burlington Coat Factory - which, here where I live, is worse than Wal-Mart. And that is pretty bad. BUT, they had snow outfits for both boys and I found one pair of snow pants for me. Nevermind the fact that because mine had no tags, the manager on duty spent 20 MINUTES trying to look them up in the system. She told me she had to go through every single item of clothing from that brand on the computer. I had some choice words for her in my head. But I needed them so badly that I waited. The total bill was over $100 but I figure if we don't use them at all, we can return them later.

Today (on said search for snow pants), I was at the mall with the boys and decided that I need a Sit N Stand stroller. I found one right when I got home, brand new out of the box, for only $80 on craigslist! It is mine on Saturday!

While I was at the mall, I decided to stop by the candy store for the boys since I didn't have enough money for them to ride the train. While I was paying the last $2.50 in my wallet (for literally like 5 pieces of candy), Micah reached in the bubble gum container and tried to get one out. The man ran over and said "no no!" and picked out ONE ball of gum, and put it on the weigher machine. I had to pay .03 cents for it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Okay, I think my head is clear now. Good night! :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Every New Year I feel like God gives me a theme for my life for the upcoming year. This year the two words that kept coming to mind were "community" and "health." I didn't make any resolutions, but have determined in my mind to be healthier in 2009, and actively pursue community with people.

One thing I am doing to pursue community is to invite more people over to the house for dinner, despite the stress and worry I go through. I also have decided to get together each week with 2 other girls from my church for prayer and sharing. The past few years I've realized that although I am surrounded by people at church, pursuing relationship with them is a whole other matter, and I need them in my life more than once a week. Last week I met with one of the women and I felt so incredibly blessed and touched. This is heading in the right direction.

For health, ahhhh... I have tried and failed so many, many times before. My entire life this has been a struggle for me. I have a love-affair with food, especially sugar, and have tried to break my addiction many times. But what helped me this time was not focusing so much on my weight (and I have 30+ pounds to lose), but focusing more on my health. I started reading the book "You: On a Diet" after a friend recommended it on her blog. I also started a food log every single day and am keeping track of my calories. But this time, I don't feel like it's a diet for some reason! I feel like I can have anything I want, as long as it is within my daily calorie allotment. Yet the book is teaching me to make really wise decisions so that I don't get hungry and fail miserably. I am walking 30 minutes a day and actually DOING it this time!

Here's the funny part - it's only Day 4. But I have been doing this off and on since January 1st; this is just the first time I'm really keeping track of everything. I have already lost 3 1/2 pounds in 4 days just by cutting out all the junk food. So, I'm off to a good start and feeling hopeful. It also helps that I have so many friends around me who are working SO hard to do the same thing, and I'm watching the weight just FALL off of them. They inspire me!

So there you have it. Now that I admitted it to the whole world I know I am accountable now! I'm going to post a weekly update. AAAHHH!! That scares me! :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm Back!

The last four years I have felt like I put my life on hold for my babies. And every second was worth it. I dropped out of helping with the youth ministry first, then the worship team, then a ton of other things at church I was involved with, plus working full-time, etc... I think one of the hardest things was going, going, going, and then all of the sudden, everything came to a sudden STOP. Suddenly I was in my house, alone with a baby (or two), and not quite sure what to do with myself. There were many tearful days where I wondered "what am I doing here?" all the while knowing that I was fulfilling the greatest calling. But that doesn't make it necessarily easier.

The last two years I have very, very slowly begun to re-emerge and get involved in things when I can. I started leading the women's ministry at church. But keep in mind that it is very, very small and does not entail a lot of work. Every Sunday, however, when I'd be in the nursing mother's room, I would secretly wish that I could still sing on the worship team.

Well, these past few months I have felt like a load has been lifted. Somehow things are getting a little easier. I can breathe a little more. Jaden is now 21 months and becoming more independent. Micah actually might be exiting the tantrum stage and he has actually become easier and easier to take places. People comment often on how good the boys are, which gives me hope that I can take them out in public more :) We no longer have to haul a 20 pound diaper bag built for two, with bottles, toys, and enough baby gear for an army. Now I just keep a small stash of supplies in each car.

Which brings me to this week. The church gave me an office to share with another pastor, who volunteers his time as well. My heart actually lept when I found this out - my OWN office?! That I can decorate and put all my dusty books in and actually hang my degree on the wall?! On Tuesday of this week, I went in for the first time and had 4 uninterrupted hours to FOCUS. Martin was able to work from home that morning and stay with Jaden (Micah was in preschool), and I got SO much done. I'm only going to be working 1 morning a week, but I crammed an entire month's worth of work into those 4 hours and felt so great!

Then tonight, I ventured out for the first time in 3 years and went to worship practice! Everyone's eyes opened wide when they saw me. "Are you BACK?!" they asked. Well, "we'll try this out," I said, since I had my two boys in tow. Since my husband is the worship pastor and "in charge" nobody balked at me bringing the boys, so we thought we'd try it out for one night. Well, the boys did wonderful. Another young boy played with them the whole time and they loved it. And I got to sing again! My heart lept again.

I'm not going to bite off more than I can chew, but it feels so good to re-emerge, even if just a bit. My family and boys will always come first, but I am so thankful to be able to pursue the things I love on the side as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Screaming J

When Jaden came out of the womb, he came out screaming. We knew right away that he had his daddy's lungs. The first night in the hospital, he screamed so loudly all night long that the nurses came in and kept asking us if everything was okay. He simmered down after the first week and really was a delightful baby. But the boy still has lungs and can outscream anyone. Well, the past few weeks Jaden has developed a new scream that I like to call "the bloody murder scream." He mainly directs it towards me when he is not getting what he wants, when he wants me to hold him, or in the middle of the night when he can't get back to sleep. Poor Micah shares a room with him and has to endure his brother.

Today I put J down for his nap, and he woke up early in a bad mood. He started screaming like this and I always feel so bad for Micah (who was asleep in the same room), that I usually rush in and pick J up so he stops. So I picked him up and rocked him back to sleep, and immediately he started screaming again. I was determined to not start this pattern again of me rushing in, rocking him to sleep, and him screaming again, so this time I just let him scream. For 40 minutes the boy screamed bloody murder, and poor Micah tried to sleep through it. It's a good thing we don't have any neighbors, let me tell you! I was so irritated and bothered. I don't do well with screaming babies.

After his nap, he wanted to listen to music and kept saying "Dah Duh!!" over and over. I started my usual interpretation routine: "Which song? The SpiderMan song? No? The Wiggles song? No? Life is a Highway?" Jaden nods. "Uh huh!" he says back. So, I started the song and started walking away, when he started screaming again. "Ants!" "Ants!" he was saying. "Huh?!" I said back. After a few minutes I started to walk away but he got frustrated again. (He was playing drums to the song at this point). "Ants!" I finally realized what he was saying. "You want me to DANCE?!" "Uh HUH!" he said back. I couldn't help but laugh. So he drummed, and I danced. He smiled. Oy! I can't wait until this child can fully talk!

Tonight at dinner he once again won us back with his charm. Ever the entertainer, he decided to put his bread in his ear. He just put it right in there and kept eating like nothing happened. How can you help but love this child?! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Exciting Week

One of the things I love about Micah being in preschool is the fact that he has a party for every holiday. It makes holidays so much more exciting for him! I love making the other kids little treats and sending them with him to school as gifts for them. This is the first year he is celebrating Valentine's Day at school, so we went out and bought little Valentine's for all the kids with candy. He's really excited for tomorrow.

I'm also REALLY excited because M and I get to go out on a date Friday night! We haven't been out on a date in so long, particularly because it is so expensive to get a babysitter! I have really been wanting to go to the new Melting Pot restaurant that opened nearby, but when I called on Tuesday they said the earliest reservation they had was at 10pm! I asked if I could be put on a waiting list, and they called me tonight to say we could come at 5:15pm. BUT, if we don't show, we get charged $50 a person! No pressure! :)

This past Saturday was also really exciting for me because I got to photograph my first wedding! I don't normally photograph weddings, but I made an exception since these were really good friends. The day went perfect, and it was beautiful! It was scheduled to rain that day but the sun was shining and there was perfect weather. I loved every minute of the wedding, but my favorite parts were being with the bride when she was getting ready, and driving the newly married couple to the picture location. They had just been pronounced husband and wife about 10 minutes before we got in the car, and I felt so privileged to be with them during those first few moments together! Here is one of the pictures from that day.

Have a happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Wasn't There

Today I picked Micah up from preschool, and he had a bloody nose and a big, fat lip. His preschool teacher told me that he had fallen out of the sand box (about a foot high off the ground), flat onto his face. She and another teacher kept saying how brave he was, that he didn't even cry. But I know my boy. My boy holds it in. He doesn't like to cry in front of other people. At 3 1/2, he's already figured out how to stuff his emotions deep inside...poor baby. My heart just broke for him. They didn't call me because he wasn't crying and he seemed okay (and I know he is), but all that was going through my head was "I wasn't there!"

It was the first time he's had any kind of accident when I wasn't there to comfort him. He came home and looked at himself in the mirror, but didn't say much about it. I was waiting. Then, a few minutes ago, I went in his room because he was supposed to be taking a nap, and I found him crying. I held him and rocked him as he let it all out. "I fell down," he said; "I hurt myself." "I know, baby. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry mommy wasn't there to hold you."

All a part of growing up, but hard for both of us...

The picture doesn't really do justice to how bad it looks in person, but he will be okay.


I have discovered something new about myself. Entertaining is not my "gift." I do love having people over, every part of it, but I get SO stressed out before-hand. Every time I say "this time will be different!" but it has yet to be. For about 3 years now we've made New Year's Resolutions to have someone over for dinner from church every month. But after the first time, I get so stressed out that I don't have the strength to do it again for months. What do I stress over? I'm asking myself the same question. I think these are the top things:

1) What to serve. Finally I've decided on two recipes that are no-fail dinners. It's either Italian or Mexican. For dessert, I often stress about that too and then end up running off to Marie Callendars at the last minute to get a pie. So, even though that's number one on my list, that one is slowly going away.

2) Cleaning the house. Because we're in a small house, every mess is magnified. I can mop the kitchen floor, but because we have white tile, it's pretty much pointless unless I do it 10 minutes before company arrives. Same with the rest of the house. We usually do a major clean the night before, but it's messy again the next morning and we have to start all over right before people arrive. Very frustrating. (We also do not have a place for everything since there's not a lot of room).

3) Having enough supplies. We are short on chairs, and short on silverware. We need to buy more of both, but haven't yet due to more pressing financial concerns. So, right now we can comfortably fit about 2 people besides ourselves. Beyond that, we just have to improvise.

4) What to do. I think my biggest stress is "what will we do?" I know - such a simple answer. DUH- talk, hang out! But I'm always nervous that someone will be bored. And because I'm not a natural extrovert, I sometimes can get tired out trying to think of conversation starters! Of course, this doesn't apply to good friends :)

So, if I invite you over, please know that I WANT you to be here, I LOVE having you over, and I do enjoy it while it's happening (and after). It's just that it doesn't come naturally to me. If I don't invite you over, please don't take it personal. Realize that it only happens about 2x a year at this point :)

Case in point, last night we were having people over at 6:00. At about 5:00 I went to get my tablecloth out - the only one I have that fits on table when the leaves are in (brand new, too, so I was SO excited to use it!). Well, it was nowhere to be found. I figured that Martin had put it in the garage somewhere since everything goes in there now (to save space). He looked for it for about 20 minutes and couldn't find it. I was stressing out, let me tell you. I was losing it. So, we ended up having NO tablecloth to use, and I was so frustrated. Our guests never knew what we had just been through. We still have no idea where it is!

I hope I didn't scare anyone about coming over! I know, I need therapy. Does anyone have any tips that could help me?! :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Saying Goodbye

This weekend we said goodbye to my grandfather, who passed away last Monday (1/26). We drove 3 hours north and stayed with close friends, who were so awesome to let us spend the night and watch the boys so that we could go to the funeral and reception nearby.

I had not seen my grandfather in a few years but was so thankful to share in the memories of him and hear everyone's stories.  He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. I knew he had three sons (including my father), but I had forgotten that I had a whole other family I had never met.  He and my grandmother had divorced many years ago, and he had four more children with his next wife.  I was able to meet some of my dad's half-siblings, and found out that I have a cousin my own age!  The funny thing is that she also has a photography business, has 2 boys that are 2 years apart (one year younger than both of mine), and we had so much in common.

My grandfather was a pilot who flew airplanes during World War II, although he never actually flew in the war. At the reception I found a stack of copies of his "life story" that he had started typing himself many years ago. It was about 5 pages long, single spaced, and last night I sat and read every word. He hadn't finished it so his stories ended when World War II ended. I learned a lot about him, and decided that everyone should write out their life story. It was so helpful for me, his grand-daughter, to learn things about him I never knew. For one, I never knew how artistic he was. He had a reputation as a teenager for whittling wood and had a newspaper article written about his skills. He was musical and also was known as being a jokester, even winning a comedy contest. He even built a washing machine from scratch, using a barrel and four large blades, that all the Navy guys used. He lived during the days where there was no indoor plumbing, you had to use an outhouse, and hunt for your food (he was from Iowa). He even wrote a story about shooting pigeons in the barn during a harsh winter and providing food for his family. I grew in my love and respect for him even more.

My grandfather died of Alzheimer's, as my step-grandfather did a few months back. It is sad that they are both now gone, but I'm also thankful for the time I had with them. Love you, grandpa.

This is completely un-related, but tonight at Target we said good-bye forever to Pull-Ups for Micah. Woo-Hoo! The boy is 3 1/2 so it is about time. He was only wearing them occasionally to bed at night but we know he doesn't really need them. We just need to be more vigilant about getting up early when he wakes up to make sure he uses the restroom first thing in the morning. It feels so good that we are beyond the diaper and Pull-Up stage, at least with one child!